TAIPEI: Computer brands such as Asus, Acer and Lenovo are turning to low-end tablets in a bid to maintain a relationship with consumers, according to industry experts.

In recent weeks these makers have announced or launched Android tablets priced at under $200.

Jeff Yang, Asus chief executive declared his intention of putting a tablet "in the hands over every consumer", while Acer expected its "value" tablets would help triple sales of that product.

"Even though it's not a very profitable business to go into, they have to be there in order to stay relevant," Pin Chen Tang, an analyst with Canalys, told the Financial Times.

And Alberto Moel, an analyst with Bernstein, the brokerage, described cheaper, small tablets as "the new battlefield for major PC [brands]".

Canalys estimated that this trend towards smaller, cheaper tablets has brought average selling prices down 12% in little over a year.

PC makers are also offering hybrid devices to consumers reluctant to commit themselves completely to a tablet, with products that can operate as either a notebook or tablet as required.

The push by PC brands into the lower end of the tablet market is likely to mean that tablets overtake desktops even sooner than has been previously forecast.

Earlier this year, IDC predicted that global shipments of tablets would surpass those of desktops this year and those of laptops next year.

And even more recently, the Pew Center found that the proportion of Americans owning a tablet had doubled in a year.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff